Date of Award

Fall 1985

Document Type

Restricted Thesis

Terms of Use

© 1985 Margaret Palmer. All rights reserved. Access to this work is restricted to users within the Swarthmore College network and may only be used for non-commercial, educational, and research purposes. Sharing with users outside of the Swarthmore College network is expressly prohibited. For all other uses, including reproduction and distribution, please contact the copyright holder.

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts


History Department


Palmer’s thesis examines the Heian Diaries, which provide first-person perspectives on life in 10th century Japan, written by women. She focuses on the role of five of these diaries as sources that inform us of women’s emotional and social survival in the confined world of Heian Japan, and further compares them with the more business-like journals written by men. Arguing that the diaries are not simply autobiographies, Palmer writes of them as examples of expressive action and agency against societal restrictions.